Restaurateur Aaron Barberian has something new on his steak house’s menu next week.
Speaking from inside his massive underground 15,000-bottle-plus wine cellar at his downtown restaurant, Barberian said he came up with the idea to hold a vaccination clinic next Thursday at his business on Elm St.
He wants to show his support and gratitude toward all the front-line food and hospitality workers who have given it their all since the pandemic began.
The industry has been hit hard by closures due to COVID-19 restrictions. Everyone is suffering, including high-end restaurants like Barberian’s.
“What we have seen is the description of the restaurant industry as we are part of the problem,” Barberian said, “and I don’t believe we are part of the problem … I believe we are part of the solution.
“So opening it up as a vaccine clinic is part of that solution.”
The idea took root in his mind a while ago. He finally contacted Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, general manager of emergency management, to ask how they could do it.
Pegg was all for it. The clinic will be done in conjunction with the University Health Network.
“So I want to open my doors and lead and show we are all part of the same brotherhood, and we can do this together,” Barberian said.
The clinic will provide first, second or third doses — and attendees won’t be required to book an appointment, or give proof of address or identification. It be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“We will get you those vaccines and get you back on the road,” Barberian said.
Barberian hopes to see lines pointing toward the front of his restaurant and down the block toward hospital row.
Along with famous steak dinners he usually serves up fine Cabernets, Chardonnays, Pinots or Sauvignons. But the vintage of vaccinations being offered will be a blend of Pfizer for those 18 to 29 years old or Moderna for those 30 and older.